Plaudits for the master of the sunken El Faro boxship were heard at a hearing into the disaster yesterday. Captain Michael Davidson was among the 33 crew who perished when the 40-year-old TOTE-controlled ship sank during a hurricane off the Bahamas last October.
The US Coast Guard is now investigating whether misconduct or other problems led to the ship’s sinking.
Tote Services CEO and president Philip Greene said Davidson was “eminently qualified to be master of one of our ships” despite an email from crewing manager Melissa Clark about “dwindling confidence” in his leadership.
“The content of the email in my assessment was overly emotional and I read it, I sat it aside and I moved on,” Greene said. Greene said the decision to sail with the hurricane approaching was down to the master.
Another person interviewed by the Coast Guard panel discussed how Davidson had ditched a planned holiday to take the ill-fated last trip on the El Faro so that he could then take time off for his 25th wedding anniversary.
A Democrat politician, Corrinne Brown, who was at the early part of the hearing yesterday, said in a statement, she “strongly believes that the Coast Guard should have greater oversight in deciding whether or not ships are allowed to sail into potentially dangerous weather conditions.”
The hearing continues.